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gas station car washes yeah or nay ??

Has anyone ran their model s through a car wash at am/pm? this one by me isn't touchless.

Nay, read the owners manual that confirms that.

Look at the "two bucket" method on you tube (5 parts).
If you have to take it to a car wash, go to true 'hand wash' where there are two guys with mitts soaping your car.

Well I'd say it depends. Occasional brush was may be OK as long as they use soft brushes. I've been washing my BMW sometimes in a car wash we have close, they have choice of brushless and uses soft brushes. I haven't noticed any major swirl marks or scratches. In summer I typically wash by hand or choose brushless wash and then finish manually. In winter I sometimes pick brush wash.


You should read the owners manual.

Thank you. I know what the owners manual says, but that doesn't mean people won't try the car washes with the soft brushes or touchless ( which left a few water spots) I think I will stick to the hand washes. :)

Some are are ok with the touchless. I have heard regrets about going through a car wash if you have the larger wheels.

I wouldn't try anything less than touchless unless you have your car completely wrapped or coated. I wouldn't even use a brush for a hand wash.

I have heard from two different sources that the touchless car washes are not recommended because of the chemicals they use (both sources were companies that do XPel wraps). One said the chemicals strip the wax from your finish.

I've used the touchless car washes. Having seen brushed car washes really scratch up a couple of cars (not mine) I'd never use one of those.

I made the mistake of going through a 'soft brush' automated wash after it snowed and my MS was covered in salt. Unfortunately the next time the sun came out I saw that my car had a few subtle but visible superficial scratches. Then I hired a local mobile detail service to do a wash-clay-polish-wax job on the car. The guy ended up putting new buffer scratches on my trunk hood, I am guessing because there is a concave curve to it and he was using a 6" pad which was probably not ideal for there. Now I am having to get my own rotary polisher and get the scratches out myself because I don't trust anyone else.

So no, please resist the temptation, it isn't worth it. Use the ones that just spray without brushes, or have it done by hand.

The "spray ones" use harsh stripper chemicals that may take you down to bare paint. Beware. The only solution is to hire bikini babes to personally clean and polish, and spank them if they leave swirls or scratches.

Or do it yourself.

Brian- I will hire chippendales, thanks! lol

I washed and detailed it myself and it looks spectacular. I did use Eagleone nanospray carnuaba wax. Work s well so far, it leaves it really clean and shiny. :)

@Captain_Zap: I know what it says:

"Do not use hot water and detergents.

In hot weather, do not wash in direct sunlight.

If using a pressure washer, maintain a distance of at least 12 inches between the nozzle and the vehicle. Keep the nozzle moving and do not concentrate the water jet on any one area.

Do not aim water hoses directly at window, door or hood seals, or through wheel apertures onto brake components.

Avoid using tight-napped or rough cloths, such as washing mitts.
If washing in an automatic car wash, use “Touchless” car washes only. These car washes must have no parts, such as brushes, that can touch Model S.

Using any other type of car wash could cause damage that is not covered by the warranty.

Do not use chemical based wheel cleaners—these can damage the finish of the wheel.

It may say whatever, but there are "reasonable expectations" regarding car reliability so I don't think voiding warranty because of cash wash will hold well in legal proceedings ;-) Not everyone is able to wash car by hand and if it is required, Tesla should not sell car to people with disabilities.

Anyway, soft brush is not much different from driving at highway speeds in a pouring rain. Car should be waterproof enough.

I must say that I hadn't washed a car by hand in quite a long time, but do now with the MS. I took through a wash once in winter as it was caked in salt grime and I was pressed for time between problems. But now enjoy the wash time.

I am not one to take the time to hand wash my MS or let someone else do it while I wait. But I do go to the local $5.00 car wash with free vacuum every Sunday. It is not a touchless car wash and I have no bad experiences using it. I have never washed a car weekly before.


You are right if one wants a show car finish or a finish to last forever. (This is what I want). However, some only want a clean car. Some may not even intend to keep it for more than a few years. For these people touch less or pressure wash is far better than a washer that touches the car. Yes, I agree with all the negative statements about these methods but they are still better then a machine that touches car after car after car.

I must also admit, I have use pressure and touch less. Here in Philly the winters can be hard on a car. I have no garage. When the temps are to cold for hand washing, I do use these methods to clean the winter off the car. I wish I had a garage so I could only hand wash.

I used to work at a car wash, I wouldn't take my Tesla to one if you paid me

When it's 10 degrees or less in a Chicago winter and your beautiful MS is covered in road salt, I think the lesser of two evils is to run it through a touchless carwash and have a few water spots. I can't imagine that the chemicals they use are worse for the paint than the road salt the cities use!

I have no plans to use a car wash but I'm struggling to figure out what to do in the winter. i tried several options last winter but with temps dipping to -40 for any lenght of time, all i got was a layer of dirty ice. Do any of you have a good choice for cold climates?

I will be taking the MS for touchless car washes. Here in Canada, Petrocanada, offers a daily touchless car wash for 90 days for little over $200. This will keep snow, ice and salt away. I am thinking of buying it. I know I know - washing it daily may not be good. Bu am not sure which is lesser of the two evils - a salt covered MS or a clean car. I do have Opti-coat and Xpel installed.

@Tesltoronto - do you see any difference between the Petrocan and Esso touchless?

Corrosion is certainly a worry, but I wonder how much durable the aluminum in these cars will be compared to the predecessors and their steel bodies/frames.

Some of the new PetroCan have a moving grid that pulls your Car through.
Way better than the typical rollers and guides that can damage the wheels.

Have the petrocan pass for my black MS. Completely useless right now....the back half of the car looks as if water hasn't even touched it. But winter is another story....hopefully it'll get the salt off at least.

Been using the touch less....the new ones with the moving conveyor belt you park on. I hand wash once a week and use this the other days....only because I'm in a new build area with dirt all around. But in winter it'll be good to get rid of the salt at least

Pre-dawn hours so no sun can reach beads of water and leave spots on the paint. Softened, filtered water. Churro wool wash mitt from the Navajo Nation. NON-detergent "soap" from Griot's. English wash leather for drying. I'm a die-hard purist in this area and will make no apologies for it.

Not for me. Not even the "touchless" car wash where they reuse the dirty towel to dry your car. I only wash mine with ONR (Optimum no rinse wash and shine) and two bucket method in the comfort of my garage even in cold winter days. An easy 20min or so job every weekend or every other weekend. My MS is alway the shinest car in the parking lot. I live in CA so I have no concern of road salt.


I use the Optimum No Rinse 2-bucket method in the garage, which works great for the car body, no so great for the wheels. Has anyone found something that gets behind the spokes without high-pressure water? I use a small brush, but it still doesn't do a very good job.

Have you guys seen this dionizer system? They claim you can rinse your car and not have to towel it off. No streaks or water stains!

I wish I had a garage! Being outside near a tree in fall in Philly is not pretty. I wash and wax once a week by hand. At this time of year I first use a leaf blower. When the weather gets to cold I will have to use pressure wash or touchless. So because of this discussion yesterday I went to try the pressure washer for the first time on my MS. I have to say it was easy, fast and good. Naturally I did not use their brush. If wiping was needed I would use my own mit.

I am glad to report there were no leaks. Water did not go any where it should not have. My car is Opti-Coated. However it looks like their wax added a little something. I can't be sure. It just might be me. Thor usually looks great after a simple wash. I know the touchless chemicals are much stronger than pressure washer. (I once talked with a tech. at this location.). So I will use touchless only when the car is to salt covered and it is to cold to get out to spray. No matter what happens, he is getting his weekly wash and wax as have all my past cars.

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